A delay to Britain's 5G rollout could cost billions of pounds due to a drop in economic output, a report from the Centre for Policy Studies read on Thursday.
The centre-right think tank noted legislative challenges, including Downing Streets rip and replace policy on Huawei kit and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, would delay 5G deployment across the UK and block the nations economic prosperity.
— Nick King (@nickphking) October 1, 2020
The report, Upwardly Mobile: How the UK can gain the full benefits of the 5G revolution, warned up to 11m homes and businesses could miss out on crucial digital network access by 2027, costing the British economy over £41bn.
The document also urged reforms to current planning to speed up Britain's 5G infrastructure rollout, namely in rural areas as well as regions and sectors hit by coronavirus, including manufacturing, agriculture and construction.
"Digital networks and the services they support have underpinned our resilience to Covid-19 and they will drive our recovery. By expanding them, we deliver not only immediate benefits but also the essential foundation stone for 5G," Alex Jackman, report author and former advisor to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said.
5G networks should cover a further 25 percent of the UK's population to boost GDP growth up to £41.7bn, compared to Government estimates of 51 percent, it read, citing data from independent consultancy Policy Points.
The report commissioned by the Chinese tech firm estimated the UK could lose £18.2bn, including £10bn in productivity, £4.7bn in telecoms losses and £2bn in related industries as well as £1.5 for losing the top spot in the global 5G market.
“This is the latest of a series of high profile reports all of which agree on one thing: that removing Huawei from Britain’s 5G network will cost the UK billions in economic benefits, significantly push up costs for businesses and consumers and will likely leave millions with slower connectivity while expanding the digital divide,” Huawei vice-president Victor Zhang said in a statement.
US Pressures UK To Reverse Decision On Huawei Network Role
London's decision comes amid fierce pressure from the Trump administration in the latter's campaign against the world's largest provider of IT equipment, who was placed on a US blacklist in May last year over alleged national security concerns, forcing the tech giant to apply for licences to do business with US companies.
Finish telecoms giant Nokia was chosen on Tuesday to replace Huawei in national 5G networks after extending its partnership with UK telecoms behemoth BT.
Washington has routinely accused Chinese firms of potentially using their technologies to spy for Beijiing, without providing evidence, sparking criticism from the Chinese government, Huawei, ByteDance and others, who deny the claims and have demanded to see evidence.
US Federal Communications Commission Chief Ajit Pai also designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats for alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party and military, without further details, worsening ties between Washington and Beijing.